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First drive: BMW 518d Saloon. Image by BMW.

First drive: BMW 518d Saloon
BMW puts a new TwinPower turbodiesel engine under the bonnet of its 5 Series, boosting economy and performance.

   



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BMW 518d Saloon

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Entry-level diesel revisions for the BMW 5 Series bring its latest TwinPower turbodiesel power to the line-up. It's smooth, and with power that punches above its quoted 150hp, the 518d is a difficult car to fault.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: BMW 518d SE automatic
Pricing: 31,760
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission: rear-wheel drive, eight-speed automatic
Body style: four-door saloon
CO2 emissions: 110g/km (Band B, 20 per year)
Combined economy: 67.2mpg
Top speed: 134mph
0-62mph: 9.4 seconds
Power: 150hp at 4,000rpm
Torque: 360m at 1,750- to 2,500rpm

What's this?

A new engine, so forget about looking for any other updates. BMW has popped its latest TwinPower turbodiesel under the bonnet of the 5 Series. Here it's the 2.0-litre, still confusingly badged 518d; its peak output is 150hp - the 520d gets the same engine but with the wick turned up to 190hp. A fleet special then, one for those with an eye on premium image yet low tax liability, the 110g/km of CO2 that BMW quotes for the auto equipped 518d being useful in reducing payments to the exchequer.

The 5 Series remains very much the benchmark in the executive saloon marketplace, and while this 518d might represent the entry-point, it and its 520d relation will make up the majority of UK sales. A handsome, if relatively conservatively styled, saloon, the build quality is impeccable inside and out, space inside good too for passengers front and rear. Trim levels encompass the well-specified SE entry point, with Luxury and M Sport trims leaving no ambiguity to the sort of equipment they add to the mix. SE comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth telephone connection, dual-zone climate control, DAB, satellite navigation, Xenon headlamps and Drive Performance Control - featuring Eco Pro, Comfort and Sport modes. Optional here is the eight-speed automatic transmission, it costing an additional 1,550 over the standard six-speed manual gearbox.

How does it drive?

The 518d might fulfil a fairly specific brief in the model line-up, but its drive to economy doesn't come entirely at the expense of enjoyment. Select EcoPro on the Drive Performance Control button and the 518d wilfully pushes you to drive as saintly as possible in a bid to get near its quoted 67.2mpg. So there's fairly slovenly response to your right foot and the instruments suggest being less lead-footed via various icons. The Comfort mode gets rid of that overly earnest economy watcher, freeing up the reins a bit and allowing something approaching a normal drive.

You'd be hard pushed to believe there's just a lowly 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel under the 518d's bonnet. As with the 218d Active Tourer where it also finds a home it proves incredibly smooth; there are no vibrations and virtually no unwanted sound making it through to the interior. The 150hp maximum might sound relatively low, but 360Nm of torque makes up for that, and the eight-speed automatic makes the most of it with a good spread of ratios. That transmission is very clever; it uses the GPS in the standard satnav to ensure it's picking the right gears for the road ahead, for both economy and smoothness. The suspension mixes comfort and control as well as it always has, so the 518d is still an enjoyable drive, though its steering does feel a touch inert - particularly around the straight ahead.

Verdict

The new 518d may represent the entry-point in the diesel BMW 5 Series line-up, but to dismiss it as an economy special is to do it a disservice. Decent - if not sparkling - performance impresses, the 518d giving little to its 520d relation on the road, but it saves buyers a couple of grand on their P11D invoice. That's significant, and one free option BMW has always offered - for those that are snobbish about their economical choice - is model designation delete. Though we say wear the 518d badge with pride: it's good enough.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Passenger Space

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Kyle Fortune - 23 Sep 2014



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2014 BMW 518d Luxury. Image by BMW.2014 BMW 518d Luxury. Image by BMW.2014 BMW 518d Luxury. Image by BMW.2014 BMW 518d Luxury. Image by BMW.2014 BMW 518d Luxury. Image by BMW.

2014 BMW 518d Luxury. Image by BMW.2014 BMW 518d Luxury. Image by BMW.2014 BMW 518d Luxury. Image by BMW.2014 BMW 518d Luxury. Image by BMW.2014 BMW 518d Luxury. Image by BMW.



2014 BMW 518d Luxury. Image by BMW.
 

2014 BMW 518d Luxury. Image by BMW.
 

2014 BMW 518d Luxury. Image by BMW.
 

2014 BMW 518d Luxury. Image by BMW.
 

2014 BMW 518d Luxury. Image by BMW.
 

2014 BMW 518d Luxury. Image by BMW.
 

2014 BMW 518d Luxury. Image by BMW.
 

2014 BMW 518d Luxury. Image by BMW.
 

2014 BMW 518d Luxury. Image by BMW.
 






 

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